Sex Ed Possible For Athens Schools

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After a difficult start to 2015 centering around allegations of sexual misconduct and failure to report, Athens City Schools is focusing on prevention of these matters in the future.

Following a training for teachers and staff last month on reporting inappropriate relationships, Athens City Schools is looking to add sexual education curriculum for middle school and high school students for the upcoming school year.

Acting Supt. Tom Gibbs and Athens High School Principal Dave Hanning met with Sarah Fick, program coordinator for the sexual assault prevention program at the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, last week about the resources available for a program at the schools.

“The organization that Miss Fick works for would provide much of the service directly in regards to presentations to our classes, but would also look to train our staff on some of the curricula so that the information could be reinforced at other times as well,” stated Gibbs via email.

Fick spoke with the Board at the February meeting about the possibility of bringing a program to the schools.

Fick stated at that meeting, that the program specifically addresses student-teacher relationships and how to help prevent the situation as well as how to react following it, including how peers and teachers should interact with the victim.

Any potential addition to the curriculum would be brought before the Board for a decision.

“I intend to introduce those to the Board in some form or fashion at the March meeting and make them available for public review through the April meeting. At the April meeting the Board would vote in regards to adding those resources to the curricula the high school and possibly the middle school teachers would use,” stated Gibbs.

The discussions about the new curriculum come following the guilty plea of Athens High School teacher Isaac Thomas to sexual battery after a relationship with a female student.

Thomas will begin a five year prison term on March 10.

Athens City Schools Supt. Carl Martin is currently on paid administrative leave as an investigation into alleged failure to report the abuse surrounding the Thomas case is taking place.

No timeline has been released for the investigation, which is being conducted by the Board’s legal counsel Brickler and Eckler.